Development Of The Gut Microbiome
Babies begin to develop their unique intestinal bacterial profile, known as the gut microbiome, even before birth as they are exposed to bacteria in the womb. During the birth process, the gut becomes further colonized with bacteria from the mother.
A 2019 study found that 63% of infants’ gut bacteria matched their mother’s bacterial profile, demonstrating that maternal health directly affects babies’ health from birth.
Other factors that influence strains of gut bacteria in early life include exposure to antibiotics, premature birth, genetics, and nutrition. Breast milk naturally contains probiotics, and while many infant formulas have probiotics added to them, the research is unclear on whether they provide the same benefits for gut health.
Probiotics For Kids: What Are They & Does Your Family Need Them
- All Ages
Many parents may have spent the last couple of years focusing on dosing their kiddos up to the eyeballs with vitamin C and may have eased the gas on probiotics for kids. However, these valuable supplements help regulate our digestive systems and maintain proper intestinal health for long-term gut maintenance.
Suppose your little ones continually suffer from runny tummies, constipation, irritable bowels, etc. It might be time to reintroduce probiotics into your family’s diet or, if you haven’t given them a go yet, explore the many benefits these little tablets can have for your family’s health.
Foods With Probiotics For Kids And Toddlers
Youll find theres a few categories of probiotic foods for kids below. One is for foods that have probiotics/good bacteria naturally occurring, but the level of bacteria in them varies quite a bit. Another list is for those super probiotic foods: ferments. Fermented foods can be purchased in the store, and Im seeing them become available more often.
One helpful tip is to make sure that whatever food youre buying contains live cultures or strains. It usually says this right on the front of the package, but if youre not sure, look at the list of ingredients you should see words like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Then, rotate through brands as much as possible, because when fermented foods are manufactured, they include specific strains of bacteria to ensure the taste is always the same.
Rotating through brands gives a larger variety of that good bacteria, and thats what you want. But, I also want to encourage you to consider making your own fermented foods as this contains tons more strains of bacteria and its SUPER cheap.
All you have to do is pick up these foods at the grocery store:
- Yogurt make sure it contains live cultures
- Yogurt can also be made at home and is a fully fermented food. Heres a recipe if you want to make your own!
Foods With PreBiotics
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Should Kids Take Probiotics For Eczema
Allergic diseases, like eczema are believed to be linked to having a poor microbiome early on in life. According to integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, the early years are incredibly important in establishing good gut health, because children have already achieved the gut microbiome of an adult by 2.5 – 3 years of age. So, it follows that improving the microbiome of kids, particularly those of toddler age, would reduce the incidence of developing eczema.
One study found that a combination of probiotic bacteria taken by high-risk children, can have a preventative effect on them developing eczema. This preventative effect is established early though – within the childs first three months of life. Another study also concluded that probiotics can help prevent eczema, although this was based on feeding Lactobacillus F19 during weaning.
So, research looks promising for high-risk kids benefiting from probiotics to prevent or reduce symptoms of eczema.
Probiotic Foods: Hype Or Health
Interestingly, your child’s GI tract is as unique to him as his fingerprints are. Each child has trillions of different microbes living in him, and no two kids have the same mix of bacteria. Two of the most common categories of beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in our body are called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and it is generally these healthy bugs that food manufacturers use in their products. The marketplace is rife with specific strains of each of these bacterial groups . “Like antibiotics, probiotics are confusing to people because each one is different,” says Dr. Merenstein. The antibiotic that will treat your child’s ear infection won’t necessarily treat her pneumonia. The same holds true for probiotics — one strain does not prevent or treat all ailments.
And it’s not just the strain that’s important, but the dose. Some food product labels list strain names along with the amount of live bacteria, usually cited on labels exponentially as 109 or 1010 CFUs . However, many products don’t provide this information, so you may need to contact the company or visit its Website to get the info.
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Be Discerning About Your Antibiotic Use
Although sometimes antibiotics are necessary, Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI, a gastroenterologist and internationally recognized gut health expert, advises that you âproceed cautiouslyâ when presented with an option to take antibiotics. Bulsiewicz recommends avoiding unnecessary use by always asking if the medication is necessary and if there are other safe options to explore first.
Probiotics For Kids With Asthma
Its estimated that 1 in 11 children suffer with asthma14. Some probiotics have been researched in asthmatics and shown to have beneficial effects, but research into the gut-lung axis is still in its infancy.
In addition to their benefits for immune health , L. acidophilus Rosell 52, B. infantis Rosell 33 and B. bifidum Rosell 71 were shown in a clinical trial with 78 children to reduce wheezing-like symptoms. Symptoms were reduced after 3 months and disappeared after 6 months. This result was still maintained at 9 months15. Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis® has also been shown to significantly reduce bronchial airway inflammation in 43 asthmatic children16. Finally, there is evidence for Bifidobacterium breve M-16V® in reducing the frequency of wheezing and noisy breathing in infants17. You can find more information here: Probiotic Potential for Asthma.
Healthcare professionals can find more information on the Probiotic Professionals site: Probiotics for Asthma
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Bioglan Biotic Balance Choc Balls 999 For 75g Best For Fussy Eaters
Suitable for: 4+
Type: Chocolate balls
If giving vitamins or probiotics to your kids is always a struggle, these could be the answer. The tasty chocolate balls contain one billion live bacteria in two high-quality strains plus fibre , and we guarantee your little ones wont hesitate to gobble them up.
They do contain less strains than other products in this list and a fair dose of sugar, but if its going to help make probiotics more appealing to kids, were sold on the idea.
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What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics For Children
Overall, probiotics may have health benefits for children including supporting a healthy digestive system.
Another potential benefit is to support the rebalance of gut bacteria following a course of antibiotics. When required to fight a bacterial infection, antibiotics are very important, but they can affect the balance of our natural gut health and can cause a reduction in the diversity of our gut microbiome.
In some cases, children also experience diarrhoea and research suggests that probiotics can help protect some people from getting diarrhoea.
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Improve Your Kid’s Immune System
Introducing probiotic foods to your kids at an early age allows them to develop a strong immune system that can ward off common ailments and more serious medical conditions.
If your child is taking an antibiotic for an illness, administering probiotics minimises side effects the antibiotics may have.
In addition, it will reduce the signs and symptoms of the illness, allowing your child to heal faster.
Now Supplements Berry Dophilus Kids Chewables
The kids version of this brands popular BerryDophilus product comes packed with 10 different strains of bacteria. These strains are meant to help with tummy troubles, of course, but they also may aid in nutrient absorption. Kids ages 1 and up can take this chewable tabletalthough youll want to break it up into food depending on age since it could be harder for younger kids to chew.
Buy NOW Supplements BerryDophilus Kids Chewables, $6.98
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Floratummys Probiotic Sprinkles 2699 For 30 Sachets Best For Those With Food Allergies
Suitable for: 1+
These probiotics for kids contains five billion live bacteria cultures in two probiotic strains, as well as a prebiotic to help nourish the beneficial bacteria in your childrens gut.
Its suitable for non-dairy kids, free from major food allergens and suitable for vegans. As a powder, it can also be easily mixed into drinks, added to yoghurt or sprinkled on top of cereals and porridge.
It may not contain a huge diverse number of bacterial strains, but the brand promotes the formula as being able to naturally help with a range of issues including diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, belly pain and colic, too.
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Pure Nutrition Progut Plus
This two months of supply will give a needed daily dose of probiotics. It promotes the digestive system, builds immunity, and keeps your health in check. This one product provides you with a daily required dose of pre and post biotics. The product is loaded with seven powerful strains, prebiotics and post biotics to promote healthy digestion. It supports gut health and regulates hormones. Plus, this is the best product to promote your overall health.
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What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics For Toddlers And Kids
Research shows that some probiotics can help prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea in children. For this reason, pediatricians often recommend that kids take probiotics whenever theyre on antibiotics.
Since some antibiotics wipe out good bacteria along with the infection-causing bacteria, probiotics act as the reserve corps the reinforcements sent in to bulk up the numbers of helpful bacteria and crowd out the illness-causing bacteria.
These good little soldiers also help strengthen the intestinal lining so that bad bugs cant multiply freely, and they may change the intestinal environment, making it more balanced and therefore less desirable for bad bacteria.
Other research has found that probiotics can shorten a bout of diarrhea in children whove caught an infection by about one day.
For now, at least, the strongest evidence for probiotics is for preventing and relieving the kind of diarrhea that comes with antibiotics and the infectious diarrhea that can be picked up at day care and while traveling.
Can Probiotics Help With Digestive Issues Such As Constipation
The symptoms of constipation include infrequent bowel movements, hard stools, a bloated stomach and straining.
Recent studies have suggested that probiotics containing Bifidobacterium lactis may help to ease the symptoms of constipation. They may also improve tummy ache symptoms and improve the consistency of stools.
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Probiotics For Kids With Eczema And Allergies
Children with allergies often exhibit a more inflammatory profile, dysbiosis and leaky gut18,19 and unfortunately, allergies and eczema often go hand in hand. The gut-skin axis is starting to be explored and we can see that conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis are linked to gut health. Probiotics can help to support gut health and modulate immune function to alleviate these issues.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG® has been shown to increase antibodies in saliva, thus potentially improving immune responses in those with hay fever20. A similar gold standard study was conducted over the birch pollen season using a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® and Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04®. The strains were given to 47 children with hay fever. Generally, fewer children reported runny and stuffy noses, plus white blood cells associated with allergy were reduced in the probiotic group21.
You can find more information about probiotics for eczema in this article: Baby Probiotics.
What Do Probiotics And The Gut Have To Do With Your Childs Brain
The gut is often referred to as the second brain because of the many important ways they are connected and communicate with one another. Other terms used to describe this are the gut-brain-axis or the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Youve probably heard of a gut feeling, and this is a real thing! Our gut and brain are in constant communication through something called the enteric nervous system. This special system of neurons controls aspects of the gastrointestinal system, the immune system, the endocrine system, and more. It also sends many signals to the brain , which impacts how our brain functions. The gut microbiome plays a major role in the enteric nervous system because the balance of bacteria influences the communication that gets sent from the gut to the brain. When there are not enough good bacteria this communication can become dysfunctional and cause symptoms in children such as depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, hyperactivity, brain fog, poor attention, and chronic headaches.
The gut also impacts mental health through the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate with one another. Some key neurotransmitters needed for brain function, including the feel-good neurochemical serotonin, are produced primarily in the gut. Microbiome imbalances can lead to reduced production of serotonin, which can cause significant problems in the brain related to mood, anxiety, energy, and more.
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Where Can You Find Probiotics
Probiotics can be found in food and via a supplement. Foods that contain probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, and some soft cheeses. Make sure the label says live or active cultures to make sure you are getting probiotics.
The reason why many parents choose a probiotic supplement over having their child eat foods containing probiotics is not only for convenience and knowing exactly how much probiotics your child is ingesting, but because many children do not eat the above foods that contain probiotics.
Huge Variety And Selection
The online platforms around the world are growing exponentially in size, and that applies to the selection of products as well. As they get more popular, more and more brands sign up to sell their products on online platforms.
They have a wide range of products across many categories, divided and organized well. This helps you find exactly what you are looking for easily. You may even get software-generated recommendations for products you may need. This includes probiotics for kids and many more.
Having a huge variety means that you can assess your preferences and choices. You can choose from a range of alternatives before purchasing. This is often not the case in most physical stores, where there is a limitation to the number of brands.
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What About Probiotics For Constipation Or Colic
Gas and bloating may be one cause of your newborns colic.
Some studies show probiotics may reduce colic symptoms and crying in infants who are breastfed. But you should discuss with your babys pediatrician before offering probiotics to infants younger than six months old.
There are many reasons kids get constipated. One reason is children dont eat enough fiber to keep their GI tract moving. Little ones prefer bland diets, which are very low in fiber-containing leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
Doctors generally dont recommend probiotics to treat constipation because there isnt enough evidence that its beneficial. So, stick to natural stool softener foods to keep your little ones bowels regular.
Replenish The Good Kids Probiotic
*Replenish the Good makes an easy to swallow probiotic pearl intended for daily use. This is also the best childrens probiotics in our opinion because it uses Bio-tract ® and Livbac ® technologies to ensure that this product makes it to the gut where all of the work needs to take place. The Kids Probiotic is blended with 5 probiotic strains and vitamin C. The four strains are L. plantarum, B. lactis, B. infantis, L. acidophilus, and L. reuteri. Again, this alone makes this product one of the best probiotic supplement options for children.
What We Love
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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Are Probiotics Helpful
Research on the health benefits of probiotic supplements has shown mixed results, but probiotics do show promise in the following areas:
- One review showed that the use of probiotics is beneficial in decreasing the duration of acute gastroenteritis in children.
- In a meta-analysis including studies of 4,755 infants, supplementation with probiotics, especially those containing multiple strains of bacteria, effectively prevented atopic dermatitis . However, no beneficial effects were seen regarding asthma, wheezing, or rhinoconjunctivitis .
- A review of studies that included over 11,000 participants showed that probiotics appear to have a protective effect against antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Research is ongoing to determine the type and dosage of bacterial strains that are most effective.
- One meta-analysis of 11 studies showed that the use of probiotics improved abdominal pain in children with irritable bowel syndrome and functional abdominal pain disorders .
- Probiotics are also being studied for use in children with chronic constipation, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Helicobacter pylori infections.
Probiotics do not appear to cause any significant side effects in healthy children without immune system problems, but it’s still not clear whether kids benefit from taking probiotic supplements on a daily basis.
Wellkid Peppa Pig Pro
Suitable for: 3-7-year-olds
Type: Chewable jellies
Another novelty form of supplement, these Peppa Pig-shaped chewable kids probiotics and their orange flavour will be loved by your little ones. They contain five billion cultures from six different strains of bacteria and also feature added calcium. This helps support the digestive enzymes in your kids tummies and aids the normal growth and development of bones in children.
Theyre suitable for vegans and vegetarians, but do contain added sugar so be aware if youre looking to reduce your familys intake.
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